Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky to open July 2016

Photo courtesy of Answers in Genesis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A controversial Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park in Kentucky will open on July 7, 2016 and should attract 1.4 million people annually, the park’s founder said on Thursday.

Currently under construction in Williamstown, northern Kentucky, Ark Encounter will include a full-sized wooden replica of the ship from the Biblical story of Noah and the great flood.

Ken Ham, president and chief executive of Answers in Genesis, the Christian organization behind the project, announced the opening date at a press conference and said the park will be able to accommodate 16,000 guests per day.

“It’ll certainly be one of the biggest Christian attractions in the world,” he said from the site of the park.

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In the summer of 2014, Kentucky officials awarded the park’s developers tax incentives, potentially worth more than $18 million over 10 years. However, state officials in December pulled the credits after developers said they would only hire workers who shared their fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

Ark Encounter officials then sued the state in federal court in February to get the incentives reinstated.

The opening date for the park was based on a verse from the book of Genesis – the seventh verse of the seventh chapter details when Noah and his family entered the ark, Ham said.

Because of the perceived high interest in the park, he said attendance will be limited for the first 40 days and nights, tying the opening again to the Noah story, Ham said. Those tickets will be available for purchase in January through an online reservation system.

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Answers in Genesis also runs the Creation Museum, 40 miles north in Petersburg, just outside of Cincinnati. It is an organization that believes the world is about 6,000 years old and events in the Bible, such as the creation of the Earth in six days, happened as they were written.

Scientists have calculated the earth is over 4 billion years old, based on carbon dating of rocks and other research.

“We make no apology about our Christian message,” Ham said in a post on the organization’s website last week. “We have never hidden the fact that our purpose is to spread the truth of God’s Word and its life-changing gospel message.”

Park officials said on Thursday the Ark would be part of a $91 million project that would sit on 800 acres and later add other biblically themed attractions. They said they are still seeking to raise another $6.5 million to complete it.

At Thursday’s press conference, Ham said the Ark section will include a restaurant, theater and petting zoo.

(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender)

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  • The park is being paid for by taxpayer dollars, and will leave taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars. It’s another instance of Christian Privilege, where a similar case of this kind of money going toward a Muslim park would (rightly) result in howls of outrage. (though the ark structure itself isn’t being paid for by taxes, the surrounding constructions are). Just google “friendly atheist ark encounter funding” for details.

    This directly hurts American education and therefore competitiveness, and will rightly be pointed to by people around the world as proof of American anti-science backwardness. What a nightmare for our kids’ futures.

    Minor correction – carbon dating doesn’t tell us the earth’s age (it’s only usable to ages ~50,000 years ago). There are three dozen other dating methods that are used, and they all confirm each other, giving the same results. Just google it. .

  • Oh boy, the reporter said carbon dating of rocks instead of radiometric dating and Ken Ham is having a field day with this saying you folks don’t understand science. There is simply no question that the earth is billions of years old and what Ken Ham teaches children is 100% wrong. I wonder how many of his follower’s children have failed science tests by responding “were you there” whenever the subject of millions of years is brought up. It is sad seeing children lied to like that and taught that man once rode dinosaurs as pictured in his book Dinosaurs Of Eden. This amusement park will be just as anti-science as his museum and just as dishonest in presenting the facts. He wants to be rewarded for bringing the state revenue while practicing religious discrimination in hiring too.

  • No government funding is being used to build the Ark. This is a false charge being spread largely by secularists opposed to the Ark project, and those that object to a Christian facility being treated equally like any other organization for a sales tax rebate program. To find out all the details about this bogus claim, go to The life-size Ark project is being funded by a combination of a bond offerings, donations, and memberships.

  • “Scientists have calculated the earth is over 4 billion years old, based on carbon dating of rocks and other research.”

    Pity the writer seems confused about science. C14 cannot ever be used to test rocks as it ONLY applies to organic material. HOWEVER it DOES contradict the old age myths of the earth – in ONE specimen, lava flows encasing a tree trunk are dated at almost 3 MILLION years old while the tree trunk encased is dated at less than 40,000 years. OBVIOUSLY the tree is OLDER, not younger, than the lava flow. Science seems quite conflicted as this article illustrates, and such contradictions seem almost the norm, as opposed to the exception.

    Dates for the age of the earth are purely speculation. And recent discoveries of C14 in both coal and Dinosaur remains have all dated less than 40,000 radio-carbon years of age. Old age advocates simply refuses to admit their speculations are unsupportable with observable, real, science.

  • You are full of it! The science is not in dispute as to the age of the earth at this point. Not to any degree which makes the garbage creationists spout even remotely plausible. Uranium dating is used for inorganic samples.

    You are lying like a cheap rug about dinosaur remains dating. Show me a peer reviewed scientific journal which confirms your statement.

    Creationists by their nature are liars. The whole premise is to pretend fundamentalist Christianity can be accepted on the basis of objective evidence and not faith. But it is untrue all creationists believe based on faith. They don’t really believe what they say with creationism. It’s just a means to an end.

  • I believe this is the first theme park to honor a genocide. But then honoring the killing of so many human beings that had never had contact with this god is probably perfectly acceptable to those who will be going there.

  • Really – Liberals are the only ones who get abortions? You are truly a person who’s brain does not have a firm concept of reality.
    And your hypocrisy is beyond belief. If you actually gave one iota about aborted zygotes you would be spending your money (and encouraging others to do the same) to do research to enable man to produce an artificial womb to continue the zygote transition to a human. Instead you are supporting the genocide perpetrated by an imaginary god. Yea, that qualifies for a decent human being who’s words should be listened to!

  • Food for thought! What if it is right and you are wrong. what then??? you can provide you opinion to God someday! or not as you believe. Why take a chance like that with your life. but again that’s up to you.

  • I myself look forward to seeing this attraction. I’ve spent good money on lots of other places that tell me about zombies, dinosaurs, cavemen, ect. And there’s never been hateful Christians trying to discourage me. Amazes me that when a Christian view is shared, how many controlling and hate filled people try to stop me from entering and learning a different view. It’s when we close our minds that we stop learning and growing

  • Science has always been in dispute about the age of the earth. You, by your very nature are assuming too much about Christians whom you don’t know.

  • god is light, love and all that is good, hate crawled out of the dark and has no place in any religion, those who promote hate in church is listening to the wrong voice